Suu Kyi AI’s envoy of conscience

YANGOON: Prosecutors for Myanmar’s junta gave their closing arguments in the trial of Aung SanSuu Kyi today, as rock band U2 prepared to announce that she had won an award from a leading rights group.

Lawyers for an American man who sparked the trial by swimming uninvited to the pro-democracy leader’s house in May, and for Suu Kyi’s two aides, also gave their final arguments to the prison court, officials and her lawyers said.

The trial has sparked international calls for the immediate release of the detained 64-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, who faces up to five years in jail on charges of violating the conditions of her house arrest.

Her lawyer Nyan Win said the trial at Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison would resume on Tuesday for the defence side to answer the prosecution’s points, but that the verdict would be announced at a later date.

Nyan Win, who is also the spokesman for her National League for Democracy, told reporters that Suu Kyi’s legal team would also ask to call a witness from the foreign ministry, who allegedly said in a written reply to a rights group that she was “detained

for her security” and

not arrested on criminal charges.

“It was not an arrest, that’s why we want to point it out. We assume that this is important for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s case. I think we will get an answer tomorrow,” Nyan Win said. Daw is a term of respect in Burmese.

Her lawyers would also seek legal action against the state-run Myanma Ahlin newspaper after it said she “committed a crime”, Nyan Win said, adding that “this kind of words can harm the court’s dignity and can influence the court.” Defence lawyers gave their closing statements for Suu Kyi on Friday.

Diplomats from the United States, Japan,

Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines were allowed to attend the morning session of today’s hearing but not the afternoon. Most of the trial has been behind closed doors.

Rights group Amnesty International was set to award Suu Kyi its highest honour later today. She will be named AI’s ambassador of conscience for 2009, a symbolic honour previously awarded to Nelson Mandela.